Chicago housing market: Are you fit to buy?

The housing boom and crash of the last handful of years has allowed so many Chicagoans to become homeowners for the very first time. Short sales, foreclosures and homes with questionable amounts of squatters have been snapped up like the last bag of Garrett’s Popcorn. Unfortunately, a lot of these people are painfully idealistic and thus wholly unfit to do anything but rent. Here’s how to tell if you’re one of these unfortunate people:

-Whenever friends, family or a creeped-out delivery guy visit your home for the first time, they’re regaled with descriptions of what you plan to do to each corner of the house. (“See that hole there? Someday that’s going to be a marvelous skylight. Or maybe a dumbwaiter. It’s so fun to dream!”)

-There are doorknobs that you fully expect company to never use, let alone touch. (The words “cabinet,” “window” and “room with the weird smell” can also freely be exchanged.) Sure, you’d love to have a perfect home (read: one without a door requiring the equivalent of a secret handshake to open), but every single time you attempt to fix one of these problem spots, a major sewer pipe downstairs – say- explodes. And in terms of resale value, you’ve always gotta go with the raw sewage first.

-You mark the passage of time by major household projects. (You: “What were we doing last April?” Me: “Well, that was right before the new windows but immediately after all of the mold was treated.” You: “It was also Easter.” Me: “Right! And we celebrated by putting a working light switch in the dining room!”)

-Your frame of reference for “It’s not so bad” begins to border on delusional. Did the previous owners accidentally cut through third-floor support beams? Do the only working fans attached to the 6 foot ceilings slice down at a 45 degree angle, potentially decapitating guests and/or other passersby? (“It’s so not an issue because this is [kind of] a great neighborhood!”)

If you’ve identified yourself among this type of homeowner, fear not. There’s help – as long as you have a disposable income. But even if not, self-reflection is always a good thing, right?

Besides, after word gets around about your terrific new abode, those pesky “visitors” may not be as much of a problem as you think.

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